Former ‘The Walking Dead’ Star IronE Singleton Comments on Andrew Lincoln Exit

IronE Singleton, who played survivor T-Dog in the first three seasons of The Walking Dead, said it’s “tough” the show is losing Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln because the loss signals an end of an era.

“It was like, I was living vicariously through Lincoln, because he started it all at the hospital. And I started with him,” Singleton said this weekend during Walker Stalker Con Orlando (via Fan Fest).

“It’s tough. It’s like a part of me that’s dying all over again. I think a lot of people, a lot of kids, you grew up watching Rick. It’s a sad moment because Rick is Rick! The Ricktatorship is coming to an end.”

T-Dog sacrificed himself rescuing a then-helpless Carol (Melissa McBride) when the group was newly arrived to their prison safe haven. After sustaining a walker bite, T-Dog escorted Carol to safety, fending off a pair of walkers who ultimately consumed him nearly to the bone.

The Walking Dead alum is playing catch-up with Season Eight, but still watches the show. “I’m about four episodes behind. I just watched Season Eight, episode 12. I have four more I have to watch before Season Nine,” he said.

“Because I’m a loyalist. I just want to ride it out to the end to see who survives, if it’ll be Carol and Daryl. I’m just curious, I’m curious about that. The team, the execs and the writers, they’re still doing a fantastic job. The writing is still superb, so yeah, I am [still watching].”

“It was bittersweet,” Singleton said during last year’s Walker Stalker Con Atlanta of learning T-Dog wouldn’t make it through the halfway point of Season Three. “I was only supposed to last a couple of episodes, but I got the privilege to last until Season Three.”

Singleton’s old co-stars Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan are the next to leave the series, poised to exit before the midway point in Season Nine. Cohan exits in favor of a movie career and upcoming ABC dramedy Whiskey Cavalier, while Lincoln steps away to spend more time with his young family, who live overseas.

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We learned previously another Walking Dead alum — Jon Bernthal, who played Rick’s best friend-slash-rival Shane — will be making a return to the franchise in Season Nine, either by way of hallucination or flashback.

The Walking Dead Season Nine premieres Sunday, October 7 on AMC.